- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview with a great author from Jackson, New Jersey, USA - TERESA ZERILLI-EDELGLASS. Teresa is the author of THROWN UNDER THE BUS: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN WORKER which sums up her professional experience.
Welcome, Teresa ...
Welcome, Teresa ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I am an all American girl who aspired to be the best she could be…until one day it all came crashing down.
I grew up the eldest of 3 children in Staten Island, New York - now famous for Super Storm Sandy - back in the 60’s when times were peaceful and happy and uncluttered by the world. An A student, I was quite the go-getter, always trying something new and always keeping busy. Later, on after stepping out on my own at the tender age of 18, I simultaneously worked full time from Main Street to Wall Street while attending college at night. I received a BS from St. John’s University and an Executive MPA from Bernard Baruch College, back to back endeavors that spanned 11 years. As I strived to grab that gold ring, evil lurked. And in due time, evil forces grabbed hold of my American Dream like a mantis to a butterfly, pulling my life into a whirlwind I will not soon forget.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I always loved writing. Always. It is something I just did. But as I was bullied out of my job at New York City Transit beginning in January 1992, my life began to depend on my writing skills. And after 19 years of hellish workplace bullying that followed me to the confines of the safe little clamshell I call home, where I suffered many years of mental illness, a book was waiting to be written. In November 2010, THROWN UNDER THE BUS: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN WORKER was born.
WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
For THROWN, I shot from the hip, but in the most coherent chronological order I could muster. It was heck going back 20 years, combing through legal documents I never wanted to lay eyes on ever again, and racking my brain for details that made me shudder like I was living the nightmare all over again but that were critical to making the story both historically accurate as well as riveting as possible.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
As a shy kid, it was a way to express myself without repercussion. Not that it had been my direct experience, but rather it was an emotional childhood trigger stemming from my father barking at my mother, blaming her for everything that ever went wrong. I was shy around strangers and had developed a fear that anything I said might welcome an unwelcomed rebuttal. With all the creativity swirling about inside, I needed an outlet. I suppose when I got a chance to write, I could say whatever I wanted without being scolded. Now? Go ahead, scold me!
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Ha…funny you ask that. I always believed that I had been a Victorian woman who fought for women’s rights and who was killed for doing so. I came back as Teresa to continue the mission…
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
My book, of course! It’s my greatest achievement, period!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Marketing my book! I also like to write pieces for guest blogs about workplace bullying and the decline of society that is seeing us straight to this epidemic.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
God and my 4-legged “babies” inspire me most. Elton John and Bernie Taupin run a very close third!
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Non-fiction only. I deal in facts. MAYBE someday I’ll try my hand at fiction.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Just DO IT! For all the time you spend thinking about it, you could have written it down!
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No. Thank goodness. I am a chatterbox with a lot to write about!
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I write whenever the feeling moves me, but all the daily interruptions make that a chore.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Yes, my home office.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Being able to share ideas that can make for a better life for anyone that cares to listen.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Scott Peck. His words helped me through the most difficult time of my life. His style is relaxed and easy; no big words, no talking at or over you, but to you.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I have heard time and time again (re: my book) “I just couldn’t put it down!” J
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Thus far, nothing negative has surfaced. Thus far.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
That is precisely what my writing is predicated on: the craziness that is my life and the experiences that shaped me that I can pass on to others in the form of advice or warnings!
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
God, Country, family/friends, 4-legged “babies”, nature, Elton John/Bernie Taupin, and traveling.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes, upon the advice given to me by my cousin, a 3-time published author. He said to not even bother publishing unless you can afford professional editing. I agree. But beware of getting ripped off too!
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Being alive and HEALTHY and knowing my loved ones are too! Sunshine helps!
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
It would have to be a man. A sexy one with all the right stuff! Yeah, I mean, who would want to get stuck without being able to have fun?
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Wow…that is a very difficult question to answer because no matter what you say to them, they wouldn’t listen. And then why even say anything? If you look at most world leaders, they do whatever it is they darn well please that they can get away with. Ego and an insatiable need for power is almost always first and foremost, not love of country. America is in a decline due to exactly that. It’s very frightening.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To take one day at a time. After what I went through, that is the best course of action. Thinking ahead scares me.
WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
All of Scott Peck’s. No other books have given me such comfort. And who says I’m going to heaven?
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I AM the character!
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Yes, navigating around to get past that learning curve is a real bitch. I spent a lot of money I really didn’t have to. Got a great end product, mind you, but I lived and learned. Self publishing is fabulous, though. I prefer it. I can be my own boss and reap the rewards of my hard work rather than being thrown a pittance by some overblown, arrogant publishing house.
DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
I’ve only just begun! Besides, I am NO quitter!
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
In my case, knowing I’ve actually positively impacted one’s life.
WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
That they are not alone! That there is hope but that they must be willing to open up to even what might appear to be the most outlandish commentary. Only then can they have the tools to guard against abuse.
HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
For me, a lot. It is the doorway to one’s book. It sets the tone.
WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be so out of it when I die, that I have no clue what’s happening.
WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Marketing can be tricky and there is no one right way. It is very specific to one’s work. But I do know that it is the singular most important part of being an author – every day, day in and day out, market, market, market – overnight success is rare, and even then, marketing is still a vital piece of the puzzle. The one thing I found to be most true is that, as an author, you sell yourself NOT your book. People who get to know a bit about you will want to read what you’ve written.
ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Yes, it is the only way to go today if you can tough out the anxiety-inducing process. The market will then bear out the wheat from the chafe.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Sensitive. Energetic. Caring. Tough. Anxious.
WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
People that live in denial and who make life-impacting and even every day decisions outside the sphere of logic!
WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
It was actually a favor for a friend. It was a travel guide to North Africa. Well-written, exciting, interesting, HOWEVER, I would not recommend anyone go there at this time and I would proceed with extreme caution any other time!
WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
I love you, Toto…you were my bestest friend in the whole wide world.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Had my former employer not raped me of the American dream I fought so hard to achieve. There again, doesn’t everything happen for a reason?
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
That’s a lot of questions…whew!
Clancy's comment: Well done, Teresa. Like your style and courage to stand up to them. Your book is on my 'to read' list. Now, get cracking on the next book.
Think about this!